Mercy Nneda Chinwo is not new to the music scene in Nigeria having won the Nigerian Idol but her musical progression did not follow the immediacy of her triumph and for a couple of years, no one heard about her, then 2017 came and “Excess Love” happened. The song, a rendition of God’s undeserving love for mankind resonates beyond the gospel genre as it grabbed the attention of millions and have them asking, who is Mercy Chinwo? It is to answer this question and many similar ones about the star that we conceived of this article. So here are five of the top details about the Port Harcourt-born, Rivers State-indigene artiste.
1. Mercy Chinwo won the second edition of Nigerian Idol
Etisalat (Now 9Mobile) sponsored Nigerian Idol was first held in 2010. Yeka Onka won the show. Two years later, the show returned with Charly Boy, Tiwa Savage and IllRymz as judges. There were twelve contestants in all. By Sunday the 8th of April, there were just Joe Blue and Mercy as the last men standing, breath held, hearts pounding, waiting for the winner. And when Etisalat Chairman Hakeem Bello-Osagie climbed the stage, Mercy’s name was announced and her life changed for good.
Mercy Chinwo got an SUV car and a cash prize of 7.5 million naira. A 7.5 million naira recording contract also comes with the Idol crown. As at 2017, Mercy says she has not received a kobo nor a mic.” As I speak to you, I am one-man standing. I am not in any record label, I am alone. I have to say the truth,” Mercy told the media.
2. The artist is also an actor
After winning Nigeria Idol the next stop for Ms. Chinwo many thought would be the studio. She didn’t go that way. She went on set of Yvonne Nelson produced Nigerian Ghanaian movie House of Gold also known as Family Runs. It was a star-studded movie directed by Pascal Amanfo with the producer Yvonne, Majid Michel and Francis Odega in the cast list. The film is unique in having musical stars on it as Omawumi and Ice Prince were part of the cast.
Not only did Mercy earn the name of an actor, her performance attracted a nomination for best music, original song in the 2013 edition of Ghana Music Award. She didn’t win the award but she the statement had been made. Mercy Chinwo is an actor of impressive repute.
3. Mercy Chinwo roots are not gospel
While she is now in most people’s top Nigerian gospel musicians list, this has not always been the case. When she began, leading to her audition for Nigerian Idol, in Nigerian Idol and after the show, one thing was clear about Mercy Chinwo. She was not a gospel artist. And this is not just because she attended a mainstream show and performed what Christians tag secular songs (her performance of Fela’s “Zombie” on the finale of 2012 Nigerian Idol was great), she released a little known, non-Gospel song “The Moment” in 2012.
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While this song is little known, Chinwo’s well-known friendship with Owamumi whom she refers to as a mentor points to the fact that her musical backgrounds were not laden with verses from Psalms and Ephesians. Although “Testimony” released in 2016 wasn’t Mercy’s first cameo into the gospel side of melody. She has been backup singer for famous gospel acts such as Sammie Okposo, Buchi and Preye.
4. Mercy is signed to Eezee Conceptz Music Label
Eezee Concepts is a fast growing media house that promotes gospel music. She was signed up in September 2017. Recall that the act won Nigerian Idol in 2012 which comes with a 7.5 million naira recording contract, well, she didn’t get the contract and Etisalat as we knew it then is no more. So Mercy had been alone doing music outside of a record label. She told the media that she was a one-man show. Eezeette put a stop. He signed her to his record label.
And it wasn’t just pen and signature on paper, there were goodies with a new car and a furnished apartment somewhere in the mix.
5. Mercy Chinwo has an impressive song lists
While the list of her songs is still countable, they are of impressive quality. Her songs include: “The Moment” (2012), “Testimony” (2015), “Excess Love” (2017), and in 2018: “On a Regular” (2018), “Eze” in which she featured Preye, “Love Expression” featuring Shady B, “Igwe”, “Eze”, “Omekannaya”, “No More Pain” and “Trust”.
Most of these latter songs are part of her debut album The Cross, My Gaze.